[Internal-cg] Consensus building process

WUKnoben wolf-ulrich.knoben at t-online.de
Thu Aug 14 16:32:41 UTC 2014

Thanks all for your valuable input.

Milton is right calling for verbal clarity. But differentation is also needed and there are different approaches to achieve it. And as I said before the suggestion so far was based on GNSO habit.

I tried to accomodate the discussion and therefore suggest to differentiate between “recommendation by consensus” (highest level, 100%) and “recommendation” (all remaining discussion results leading to a recommendation).

I agree to all basic principles Martin came up with and incorporated them.
I’m still uncertain with “non-substantive” issues which level of substance may depend on different views.

I would appreciate further fruitful discussion on the list and we will hopefully see an end at our call next week.

See my edits attached.

Best regards


From: Milton L Mueller 
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 8:12 PM
To: 'Martin Boyle' ; Coordination Group 
Subject: Re: [Internal-cg] Consensus building process

I think Martin makes very good points here. 

I like his proposed principles, every one of them. 


I must confess that I have been wincing at the way the word “consensus” is (ab)used routinely in these circles. Either it is truly consensus, and everyone either agrees or agrees not to object, or it is _something else_. Will we please stop trying to apply the term “consensus” to supermajority voting processes? My academic commitment to verbal clarity and directness is screaming at me that this is wrong.


The IETF concept of “rough” consensus is an informal mechanism that is suitable for a more homogeneous environment in which adherence to standards is voluntary anyway, but in an environment with binding outcomes and political factions, it can and, in the ICANN context, frequently HAS merely provided a rationalization for ignoring significant minority points of view. 



From: internal-cg-bounces at icann.org [mailto:internal-cg-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of Martin Boyle
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 1:24 PM
To: Coordination Group
Subject: Re: [Internal-cg] Consensus building process


Hi All,


First thanks to Wolf-Ulrich for his paper.  I greatly like the idea of standards of good behaviour and mutual respect – and I’m pleased to see that this is already very much the framework for the way that the ICG works.  I’d also note that the analysis of shades of grey in levels of support is interesting – was it Patrik who first noted the two extremes (non-substantial and substantial issues) and the level of consensus that might be needed?  I’m just not sure I know how to use them…


I’d firmly endorse the aim that “the ICG … reach at least Consensus on the Proposal for the IANA Stewardship Transition to be forwarded to the NTIA” subject to our continued effort to try to achieve full/unanimous consensus or (at least) to have addressed address points of concern.


However, I do not like processes that are supposed to be by consensus being resolved by voting (cf WCIT):  voting leaves winners and losers.  It also means that people get lazy and fail to look for compromise or common ground or ways to address “reasonable” concerns.  That aversion is not really addressed by supermajorities:  even at an 80% supermajority, all the domain name registries or all the government representatives or all GNSO members could be overruled.  At 85% all the ccTLD registries, at 90% all the gTLD registries could be ignored.


I do recognise the need for a mechanism that allows us to come to a final recommendation and I’m afraid that I do not see any magic wand.  But I would suggest a number of basic principles:


·         The aim of the discussion should be to try to find a solution where *no member of the ICG still maintains serious opposition to the outcome.*  Reasons for objections should be given, allowing the ICG wherever possible to try to address those concerns.

·         *Recourse to any form of voting should be the exception.*  Its use might be fine for non-substantive issues.  For substantive issues, at least none of the “customer groups” (numbers, protocols, gTLDs or ccTLDs) of the IANA remains strongly opposed.

·         Group members who still have problems with the evaluation should be invited to *identify possible ways in which the proposal could be modified to make it acceptable to them.*

·         Discussions should continue until *no “IANA customer” group is firmly opposed.*  


One final point:  I would be willing to allow anyone who feels that they have not been heard to put a minority view into the final report.  I’d rather that did not happen, but if the views are strong enough, it would be best to have then documented in the report than to be first aired in the discussion that follows the publication of our final report.








From: internal-cg-bounces at icann.org [mailto:internal-cg-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of Kavouss Arasteh
Sent: 11 August 2014 20:48
To: Drazek, Keith
Cc: Coordination Group
Subject: Re: [Internal-cg] Consensus building process


Dear All,

Undoubtedly, it would be super majority either 2/3 or 4/5 .



2014-08-11 18:18 GMT+02:00 Drazek, Keith <kdrazek at verisign.com>:

I agree that we will need a clear process for determining consensus that falls somewhere on the spectrum between humming and requiring a unanimous vote.

If we get in to discussions of voting, we'll also need to address the thresholds required to establish consensus. Is it a simple majority? Super-majority?  Unanimous voting is an unhelpful requirement that would likely obstruct our work and our ability to deliver, so I believe that should be a non-starter for the ICG. We need to avoid the possibility of one dissenting vote undermining an otherwise strongly supported recommendation that represents broad community consensus.

However, if/when there is not full consensus, it will be important that we have a mechanism for expressing dissenting opinions. The GNSO Registries Stakeholder Group employs a "minority statement" mechanism to allow for all views to be expressed when there is consensus but not unanimity on a particular topic. Perhaps we should consider a similar mechanism for the ICG.


-----Original Message-----
From: internal-cg-bounces at icann.org [mailto:internal-cg-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of Subrenat, Jean-Jacques
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2014 6:09 AM
To: Kavouss Arasteh
Cc: Coordination Group
Subject: Re: [Internal-cg] Consensus building process

Hello Colleagues,

>From the experience of the past few weeks, unfortunately we can conclude that the current process is not successful. Rather than meting out blame or praise, we need to understand why it's not working. Group dynamics and a bit of sociology can help.

Our Coordination Group is different from what some of us/you have come to consider as "normal". The technical bodies (IETF, IAB) have developed an efficient process where "rough consensus" is understood and accepted. But other components of the ICG have different habits, and also a different accountability mechanism: however attractive "rough" may be, it is insufficient. For example, the GAC has its own rules (a joint position can only be reached by unanimity), and the ALAC routinely conducts all its votes on a full-membership basis (each member has to say ay, nay, abstain, or be noted down as not having cast a vote).

So the challenge is this: is the "rough consensus" really adapted to all the needs of our group? With the experience gained collectively in London, and especially since then, I would recommend a dual approach:

A/ MATTERS REQUIRING ALL MEMBERS TO VOTE (typically, to be decided as soon as possible, with the exception of our Transition plan)
   - Chair structure and membership,
   - Charter of the ICG,
   - choice of Secretariat (ICANN or outside of ICANN, or a mixture of both),
   - choice of near-final drafts and approval of final draft of our Transition plan, before presentation to the NTIA.

   - Appraisal of specific community input, as a contribution to the ICG's recommended plan (e.g. ALAC should appraise input from its own community before submitting it to the whole ICG),
   - external relations and communications of the ICG (once the Chair structure has been chosen and populated, it may wish to ask Chair, or another of its members, to be the point of contact),
   - administrative & logistic matters, in conjunction with the chosen Secretariat (here too, delegation would be possible).

I'm prepared to provide a more detailed proposal for the above items.

Best regards,

----- Mail original -----
De: "Kavouss Arasteh" <kavouss.arasteh at gmail.com>
À: "Patrik Fältström" <paf at frobbit.se>
Cc: "Coordination Group" <internal-cg at icann.org>
Envoyé: Lundi 11 Août 2014 10:40:08
Objet: Re: [Internal-cg] Consensus building process

Dear Wolf
Thank you very much for reply
My point is that if one or more ICG Mmember(s) is7are againszt the ruling of the Chir ,They could raise their issue and the matter must be settled by simple explanation or if not resolved by voting . I.E. CHAIR DOES NOT HAVE DECISION MAKING POWER ON HE OR HIS OWN WISHES RATHER TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT VIEWS OF MEMBERS Regards KAVOUSS Regards

2014-08-11 8:33 GMT+02:00 Patrik Fältström < paf at frobbit.se > :

On 11 aug 2014, at 08:09, WUKnoben < wolf-ulrich.knoben at t-online.de > wrote:

> The chair’s designation that consensus is reached is not her/his own decision rather than a wrap-up of extensive discussions. Of course this designation can be challenged by members. And this is what triggers your question about “If several participants in the ICG disagree with the designation given ...”. I’m open to any helpful suggestion on how we could procede in such a case.
> In the end consensus - as defined – has to be achieved.

Let me emphasize what you say here, which I strongly agree with.

We must deliver.

This implies we must be able to reach consensus.

The last couple of weeks discussions on various topics makes me a bit pessimistic on the ability for us to reach consensus, but I am optimistic, always optimistic, on peoples ability and interest in actually deliver.

Remember that the chair is calling on the consensus question, not the substance. That way the power of the chair is decreased to a minimum and process issues.


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